UH needs to get
its fans off the couch
IS pay-per-view a success?
Not if you had technical difficulties.
But if the numbers hold true -- and Dave Reardon's report in Saturday's Star-Bulletin showed an estimated 12,000 in-home orders while more than 38,000 made it to the game itself -- ka-ching!
With the exception of the biggest of games (like last year's extravaganza against BYU), this is a pretty typical attendance figure for the June Jones era. Which means PPV didn't even make a dent in the gate. Which means all that cash is bonus money.
But let's take another look at the numbers. With more than 12,000 personal PPV sales, let's say that an average of four people watched in each house (a ridiculously low estimate). This means there are at least -- and likely far more than this -- 48,000 more people who want to watch the game, but for whatever reason won't attend in person.
That UH is reaching this demographic (and its wallets) is an unqualified success. But the fact that there is a stadium full of fans who want to watch the game but aren't willing to fill the stadium raises concerns.
The money is nice, but UH also needs to find out how it can get these people in the house.
Pay-per-view will really make a difference if it can make its viewers wish they were there.
You think these guys aren't scholar-athletes? When UH offensive lineman Uriah Moenoa was describing Timmy Chang's new leadership style after Saturday's game, he busted out this one:
"I'm thinking about Napoleon when I heard that," Moenoa said.
Napoleon! Where did Napoleon come from?
"'Cause I just did a research paper on Napoleon," Moenoa said.
Now this is the true college experience. Let it now be said that college football brings the classroom to life.
I would listen to Jim Leahey read the dictionary.
In fact, the more I think about it, that really isn't a bad idea. It might even be more entertaining than sports. Just imagine:
"Reciprocity -- a reciprocal relationship, an interchange of favors, especially the exchange of trading rights between nations. You will recall that it was King Kalakaua who signed the reciprocity treaty with the United States, which allowed Hawaii to import and sell sugar without tariffs, in order to help the sugar trade prosper in old Hawaii." I would watch this show.
Watching Hawaii's defense almost make great play after great play Saturday night (June Jones estimated that Eastern Illinois quarterback Tony Romo escaped sure sacks eight or nine times) shows you just how good Travis Laboy is. (It also shows you that if you're that good, missing a practice is forgivable -- missing a game is not.)
And that's how the UH defense was Saturday -- almost great. On the first play from scrimmage, it looked like one of those old comedies in which you open a closet and get buried, everything falling on your head. And "everything" included Lance Samuseva.
But at other times it seemed as if Eastern Illinois had found the Miami (Ohio) playbook.
And despite some unbelievable individual efforts, Jones' diagnosis of Hawaii's run defense sounded a lot like the one he gave after last year's loss at Nevada.
Bottom line, hold off on the panic. The big plays -- interceptions, fumbles, defensive touchdowns -- outweigh the yardage and sustained drives. This week. Hawaii's defensive philosophy is to get the ball back and ask questions later. It won't always look pretty. But that doesn't mean it wasn't beautiful.
Kalani Simpson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org